Flu season is fast approaching and Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital wants to help keep all families healthy.

SBA, with financial support from the Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital Foundation, will be offering its 12th annual free flu vaccination clinics. A total of 1,200 doses of influenza vaccine will be made available to anyone age 3 and above on first-come, first-served basis at clinics in El Dorado and Augusta.

“We are happy to be able to offer this great service to the communities we serve,” said SBA President and CEO Jim Kirkbride. “We hope as many people as possible will take advantage of these free clinics, preventing as much illness as we can this flu season. This program has been a huge benefit to the public in the past and we hope that it will be again this year.”

The first clinic will be in Augusta on Oct. 14. It will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 2420 Ohio St. The second clinic will be in El Dorado on Oct. 28 at the SBA Cancer Center, 700 W. Central Ave. (enter through the front lobby doors). It also will be from 8 to 10 a.m.

While there is usually a large line at the beginning of the clinics because it is first-come, first-served, Hospital staff want everyone to understand the line moves relatively quickly at both locations.

Flu shots are important preventative steps anyone can take, but it is especially beneficial to large families since having one child home with the flu can put a great financial and/or emotional strain on parents who either have to stay home from work or make arrangements for childcare. And the flu often spreads throughout the family, causing multiple days off work.

In addition, those taking care of young children or the elderly benefit from this vaccine by helping to stop the spread of the flu virus. Others who benefit are people working in high-density workplaces, such as large retail or grocery stores; students; and those expecting visitors or traveling for the holiday season.

According to the CDC, while effectiveness can vary, recent studies show vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by about 50 to 60 percent among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are like the vaccine viruses. The vaccination can not only keep you from getting sick with the flu, but also reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization and is an important preventative tool for people with chronic health conditions.

“Community wellness is an important initiative for the Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital Foundation,” said Chase Locke, Foundation Executive Director. “This is another opportunity the Foundation can provide to community members to let them take steps to stay healthy this flu season. It is because of our generous donors that the Foundation can provide this important service.”

For more information about the clinics, contact Francia Bird, Quality/Risk Management, at 316-322-4567. For more information on how to help the Hospital provide similar projects, contact Chase Locke, Foundation Executive Director, at 316-321-8741.